City's Only Female Firefighter Sues Over Dirty Bathroom

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Jun 27, 2011  |  Updated 2:57 PM PDT
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City's Only Female Firefighter Sues Over Dirty Bathroom

Brian Babarik

Daly City's only female firefighter is suing the city, partly because of dirty bathroom conditions.

She can handle jumping into burning buildings, but workplace conditions were so "grotesque" the only recourse was a lawsuit.

And all because of a dirty bathroom.

The only female firefighter in Daly City is filing suit after she was allegedly retaliated against for complaining about a filthy, urine-soaked bathroom in her firehouse, according to the Contra Costa Times.

Barbara Lewicki, 50, now a captain in the department, had to walk across the men's sleeping area in order to reach the lone women's bathroom in the firehouse. After crossing an area full of male firefighters "nude or in their underwear," she would reach the women's bathroom, which the male firefighters would use and leave the in terrible condition, "including unflushed urine," the suit claims.

Lewicki has been with the department since 1986. The city will fight her claim in court, according to an attorney hired to defend Daly City.

Lewicki says she was unfairly punished after complaining about the male firefighters' crass behavior regarding her bathroom. She was punished for wearing a worn uniform, and was placed on paid leave on Aug. 29, 2010 after her superiors questioned her fitness for duty. She can return once she submits her lifetime medical records, the newspaper reported.

"She knew when they got those records they would find something that made her unfit," said Angela Alioto, the former San Francisco supervisor and mayoral candidate who is representing Lewicki, who will request a jury trial.

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